Mar 30, 2010

A personal reflection on Facebook

by Jenna Shoffner

“Facebook me.”

Up until a couple months ago, that was one of my least favorite phrases because I always had to respond with an “I can’t…”
Yes, I was one of those unheard-of college students who did not have a Facebook account. And contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to survive socially without one.

Facebook, though used by millions of people daily, is not the best method of communication. While most people would agree with that statement, many still seem to rely heavily upon the site.

During my non-Facebook days, I would always get strange looks and pitiful glances my way. I even had a few comments such as, “You really miss out on a lot.”

And so, I would like to give the public a little taste of the benefits of being Facebook-less.

First of all, when one is without a Facebook, or any other social networking account for that matter, it is incredibly easy to find out who one’s true friends are. Real friends do more than just write on each other’s walls. If there is no wall to write on, the genuine friend will find an alternative method of communication.

Secondly, not having Facebook probably saved me from much potential embarrassment. Far too often there are statuses that employ the “too much information” principle. I have a distinct feeling that, in my younger, less mature days, I would have displayed a seemingly emotional trauma on my Facebook status that the world simply did not need to see. Thankfully, I had no status to post, and therefore, the world was spared my daily drama.

And finally, the most common complaint about Facebook: the time-wasting factor. As a disclaimer, now that I am on Facebook, I have to admit I fall prey to this trap just as much as anyone else. It is commonly known that Facebook users who say they do not waste time on the site are few and far between. Daily Facebook time spent worldwide on average equals to 10 billion minutes, according to the NY Times.

Do the math, folks — that equals about 19,026 years. No doubt at least a few thousand of those years could be spent doing something far more productive.

I was able to track down at least one person in the 18 to 25 age group who does not use Facebook. She had only good things to say about being Facebook-less.

“I have been Facebook-free for about 7 months now. The first week or so without it was hard, but after that, I saw how much more I was getting accomplished and haven’t regretted it since,” Liberty University senior Jaimie Crandall said.

All benefits of being Facebook-less named, it would not be a balanced opinion if the pros of being on Facebook were not named as well.

Facebook, I have learned, is a great way to reconnect with people who live in distant locations or even just people with whom one has lost contact. It is strange for such people to track a phone number down and then call it if reconnection is desired, but it is far less awkward to send a friend request to these long-lost people.

Furthermore, convenience is at its height when it comes to social networking. College students typically spend a good amount of time on computers daily, through which Facebook is accessed. Facebook access is even more convenient via cell phone.

My message is in no way saying that there is anything wrong with Facebook. It can, for numerous reasons, be a helpful and enjoyable tool of communication. Rather, I would like the point out the benefits that life and relationships may reap if we choose to live Facebook-free.

Contact Jenna Shoffner at

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